For Immediate Release
Parents Urge Supermarket to Shelve On-Shelf TV Ads, Petition Food Lion to Pull the Plug on Planned 3GTv Test Run
BOSTON, MA - “No TV ads on grocery store shelves.” That’s the message parents are
sending Food Lion supermarkets. The grocery chain is planning a test
run of 3GTv, a controversial new marketing scheme that airs commercials
on mini-televisions attached to grocery store shelves -- right next to
the product being advertised. This fall, Food Lion and Automated Media
Services will conduct a trial of 3GTv in several of Food Lion’s Bloom
supermarkets in Maryland and Virginia. A successful test run is likely
to have nation-wide consequences, spurring other grocery stores to
follow suit. In a petition
delivered today to Carol Herndon, Chief Administrative Officer of
Delhaize America (Food Lion’s parent company), nearly 1,700 parents
urged Food Lion to shelve its on-shelf commercials.
"When screen-based advertising
invades the public sphere, even the most vigilant parents can't protect
children from it," said CCFC's Director, Dr. Susan Linn. "It's time to
challenge the notion that marketers have a right to fill every nook and
cranny of our lives with televisions and blaring commercials. If we
don't stop 3GTv now, families around the country will be forced to run a
gauntlet of TV advertising in every aisle of every supermarket."
Automated Media Services, the
company that developed 3GTv Networks, has commissioned Bradley
University to evaluate costumer reactions to the on-shelf ads. But
early reviews suggest that parents are not at all happy with this latest
commercial intrusion and will avoid shopping at Food Lion stores that
install 3GTv. Their concerns include:
Parents do not want their children exposed to screens while they shop.
“Having TV screens all over the
grocery stores undermines my parenting! You simply cannot avoid the
presence of television!” Samantha Penrose, Urbana, IL
Parents do not want their families accosted by ads in a supermarket.
“People have a right to go about
their daily lives without being subjected to constant advertising
everywhere they go.” Candice Zawoiski, Pittsburgh, PA
“Regardless of whether or not you
will cancel this plan because it is the "right" thing to do, I trust you
will quickly realize it is an idiotic move from a "bottom line"
perspective: you can expect it would result in widespread boycotts and
permanent and substantial damage to your brand's reputation…” Leo Shapiro, College Park, MD
For parents who shop with their children, supermarket ads undermine their role as gatekeepers.
“I would never bring my children
into a store with screen ads. Using them is akin to pulling aside a
child and saying, ‘Wouldn't you like your mommy to buy you this
(probably sugary and unhealthy processed) item’ right in front of the
parent. You probably would not allow employees to do that, so why let a
screen? It is insulting and manipulative behavior.” Diane Miller, Ithaca, NY
“Parents need to be supported and
not distracted from their role in their children's lives. Please take
away TV advertising from your grocery store. I will choose not to be a
patron of Food Lion if I feel my role as parent is diminished while
trying to keep my family healthy.” Carissa Cox, Irmo, SC
It is unfair to use 3GTv to target young children and particularly harmful if the products advertised are unhealthy.
"You guys [Food Lion and Automated
Media Services] ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The Federal Trade
Commission decided 30 years ago that kids under the age of 7 are
psychologically defenseless against advertising. And with the current
epidemic of childhood obesity, you're going to advertise fatty foods?
Give me a break! Get a conscience!" Vic Strasburger, M.D., Albuquerque, NM
Added Dr. Linn, “Being a parent is
challenging enough, without having companies like Food Lion and 3GTv use
on-shelf television to turn grocery shopping into a nagging nightmare.
We hope that Food Lion will listen to parents, and nip this exploitive
advertising in the bud.”
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC is a project of Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org).